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Sovereign Grace by Dwight L. Moody

I.--MR. MOODY AND REV. MARCUS RAINSFORD.

WHAT IT IS TO BE A CHILD OF GOD.

MR. MOODY -- What is it to be a child of God? What is the first step?

Rev. M. Rainsford -- Well, sir, I am a child of God when I become united to the Son of God. The Son of God prayed that all who believed upon Him should be one with Him, as He was one with the Father. Believing on Jesus, I receive Him, and become united to Him; I become, as it were, a member of his Body. I am an heir of God, a joint-heir with Christ.

Mr. M. -- What is the best definition of Faith?

Mr. R. -- Trust in the Son of God, as the Saviour He has given to us. Simple trust, not only in a creed, but in a Person. I trust my soul to Him. I trust the keeping of my soul to Him. God has promised that whosoever trusts Him, mercy shall compass him on every side.

Mr. M. -- Does not the Scripture say that the devils believe?

Mr. R. -- They believe the truth, do they not? They believe that Jesus was manifested to destroy them; and they |tremble.| I wish we believed as truly and as fully that God sent His Son into the world to save us.

Mr. M. -- What is it to |trust?|

Mr. R. -- I take it to mean four things:

(1) Believing on Christ: that is, taking Him at His Word.

(2) Hoping in Christ: that is, expecting help from Him, according to His Word.

(3) Relying on Christ: That is, resting on Him for the times, and ways, and circumstances in which He may be pleased to fulfill His promises according to His Word.

(4) Waiting on Christ: that is, continuing to do so, notwithstanding delay, darkness, barrenness, perplexing experiences, and the sentence of death in myself. He may keep me waiting awhile (I have kept Him a long time waiting); but He will not keep me waiting always. Believing in Him, hoping in Him, relying upon Him, and waiting for Him -- I understand to be trusting in Him.

Mr. M. -- Can all these friends here believe the promises?

Mr. R. -- The promises are true, whether we believe them or not. We do not make them true by believing them. God could not charge me with being an unbeliever, or condemn me for unbelief, if the promises were not true for me. I could in that case turn round and say: |Great God, why did you expect me to believe a promise that was not true for me?| And yet the Scriptures set forth unbelief as the greatest sin I can continue to commit.

Mr. M. -- How are we |cleansed by the Blood?|

Mr. R. -- |The blood is the life.| The sentence upon sinners for their sin was, |The soul that sinneth it shall die.| That we might not die, the Son of God died. The blood is the poured-out life of the Son of God, given as the price, the atonement, the substitute, for the forfeited life of the believer in Jesus Christ. Any poor sinner who receives Christ as God's gift is cleansed from all sin by His Blood.

Mr. M. -- Was the blood shed for us all?

Mr. R. --

|There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in his day; And there may we, though vile as he, Wash all our sins away.|

Mr. M. -- Some may think that this is only a hymn, and that it is not Scripture. Did the Lord ever say anything similar to what the hymn says?

Mr. R. -- He said: |I have given you the blood upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls.| That was said of the picture of the blood of Christ. And at the Last Supper our Lord said His blood was |the blood of the new testament which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.|

Mr. M. -- What is |the gift of God?|

Mr. R. -- There are three great gifts that God has given to us --

(1) His blessed Son.

(2) The Holy Ghost, |the promise of the Father,| that we might understand the unspeakable gift bestowed on us when He gave His Son.

(3) He has given us His Holy Word.

The Holy Ghost has inspired the writers of it that we may read, and hear, and know the love that God has to us, |in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.| We could not have the Son for our Saviour, unless God gave Him. We could not understand the gift of God, unless the Holy Ghost had come to quicken us and teach us; and this He does through the Word.

Mr. M. -- How much is there in Christ for us who believe?

Mr. R. -- In Him dwelt |all the fullness of the Godhead bodily| -- fullness of life, of righteousness, of sanctification, of redemption, title to heaven, and meetness for it; all that God wants from us, and all that we want from God, He gave in the person of Christ.

Mr. M. -- How long does it take God to justify a sinner?

Mr. R. -- How long? The moment we receive Him we receive authority to enroll ourselves among the children of God, and are then and there justified from all things. The sentence of complete justification does not take long to pronounce. Some persons profess to see a difficulty in the variety of ways in which a sinner is said to be justified before God: (1) Justified by God; (2) Justified by Christ; (3) Justified by His Blood; (4) Justified by grace; (5) Justified by faith; (6) Justified by works.

Justification has reference to a court of justice. Suppose a sinner standing at the bar of God, the bar of conscience, and the bar of his fellow-men, charged with a thousand crimes.

(1) There is the Judge: that is God, who alone can condemn or justify: |It is God that justifieth.| That is justification by God.

(2) There is the Advocate, who appears at court for the sinner; the counselor, the intercessor: that is Christ. |Justified by Christ.|

(3) There is next to be considered the ground and reason on account of which the Advocate pleads before the Judge. That is the merit of His own precious Blood. That is justification by His Blood.

(4) Next we must remember the law which the Judge is dispensing. The law of works? Nay, but the law of grace and faith. That is justification by His grace.

(5) And now the judge himself pronounces the result. |Be it known unto you that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.| Now, for the first time, the sinner at the bar knows the fact. This is justification by faith.

(6) But now the justified man leaves the criminal's dock. He does not return to his prison, or to his chains. He walks forth from the court-house a justified man; and all men, friends or foes, are made aware that he is free. That is |justification by works.|

Mr. M. -- A man says: |I have not found peace.| How would you deal with him?

Mr. R. -- He is really looking for the wrong thing. I do not look for peace. I look for Christ; and I get peace with Him. Some people put peace in the place of Christ. Others put their repentance or prayers in the place of Christ. Anything put in the place of Christ, or between the sinner and Christ, is in the wrong place. When I get Christ, I possess in Him everything that belongs to Him, as my Saviour.

Mr. M. -- Some think they cannot be Christians until they are sanctified.

Mr. R. -- Christ is my Sanctification, as much as my Justification. I cannot be sanctified but by His blood. There is a wonderful passage in Exodus. The high priest there represented in picture the Lord Jesus Christ. There was to be placed on the forefront of the miter of the high priest, when he stood before God, a plate of pure gold, and graven upon it as with a signet, the words: |Holiness to the Lord.| My faith sees it on the forefront of the miter on the brow of my High Priest in heaven. |And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.| That was for Israel of old! That on the brow of Jesus Christ is for me. Yes -- for me, |that I may be accepted before the Lord.| As I believe this truth it purifies my heart, it operates on my affections and my desires; and I seek to walk with Him, because He is my Sanctification before God, just as I trust in Him as my Justification -- because He shed His blood for me.

Mr. M. -- What is it to believe on His name?

Mr. R. -- His name is His revealed self. We are informed what it is in Exodus. Moses was in the mount with God, and He had shown him wonderful things of kindness and of love. And Moses said, |O God, show me thy glory!| And He said, |I will make all my goodness pass before thee.| So He put Moses in the cleft of the rock, and proclaimed the name of the Lord: |The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin| -- there it is, root and branch |and that will by no means clear the guilty.| That is His name; and His glory He will not give unto another: and to believe in the name of the Lord is just to shelter under His promises.

Mr. M. -- What is it to |receive the Kingdom of God like a little child?|

Mr. R. -- Well, I do not believe in a little child being an innocent thing. I think it means that we are to receive it in all our need and helplessness. A little child is the most dependent thing on earth. All its resources are in its parents' love: all it can do is to cry; and its necessities explain the meaning to the mother's heart. If we interpret its language, it means: |Mother, wash me; I cannot wash myself. Mother, clothe me; I am naked, and cannot clothe myself. Mother, feed me; I cannot feed myself. Mother, carry me; I cannot walk.| It is written, |A mother may forget her sucking child; yet will not I forget thee.| This it is to receive the Kingdom of God as a little child -- to come to Jesus in our helplessness and say: |Lord Jesus, wash me!| |Clothe me!| |Feed me!| |Carry me!| |Save me, Lord, or I perish.|

Mr. M. -- A good many say they are going to try. What would you say to such?

Mr. R. -- God wants no man to |try.| Jesus has already tried. He has not only tried, but He has succeeded. |It is finished.| Believe in Him who has |made an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, finishing transgression, and bringing in everlasting righteousness.|

Mr. M. -- If people say they are |going to try,| what would you say to them?

Mr. R. -- I should say, Put trusting in the place of trying; believing in the place of doubting; and I should urge them to come to Christ as they are, instead of waiting to be better. There is nothing now between God the Father and the poor sinner, but the Lord Jesus Christ; and Christ has put away sin that I may be joined to the Lord. |And he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit;| |And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.|

Mr. M. -- About the last thing an anxious inquirer has to contend with is his feelings. There are hundreds here very anxious to know they are safe in the Kingdom; but they think they have not the right kind of feeling. What kind of feeling should they have?

Mr. R. -- I think there are several of those present who can say that they found a blessing in the after-meetings through one verse of Scripture. I will quote it as an answer to Mr. Moody's question. |Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.| Some of you may be walking in darkness; that is how you feel. What is God's command? |Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.| If I am to trust God in the darkness, I am to trust Him anywhere.

Mr. M. -- You would advise them, then, to trust in the Lord, whether they have the right kind of feeling or not?

Mr. R. -- If I were to think of my feelings for a moment, I should be one of the most miserable men in this hall to-night. My feelings are those of a sinful corrupt nature. I am just to believe what God tells me in spite of my feelings. Faith is |the evidence of things not seen:| I might add, |the evidence of things not felt.|

Mr. M. -- Some may say that faith is the gift of God: and that they must wait till God imparts it to them.

Mr. R. -- |Faith cometh by hearing.| The word of God is the medium through which faith comes to us. God has given us Christ; and He has given us His Spirit, and His Word: what need is there to wait? God will give faith to the man who reads His Word and seeks for His Spirit.

Mr. M. -- What, then, should they wait for?

Mr. R. -- I do not know of anything they have to wait for. God says: |Come now; Believe now.| No, no; there is nothing to wait for. He has given us all He has to give: and the sooner we take it the better.

Mr. M. -- Perhaps some of them think they have too many sins to allow their coming.

Mr. R. -- The Lord Jesus has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. |As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.| Why do we not believe him? He says He has |made an end of sins.| Why do we not believe Him? Is He a liar?

Mr. M. -- Is unbelief a sin?

Mr. R. -- It is the root of all sin.

Mr. M. -- Has a man the power to believe these things, if he will?

Mr. R. -- When God gives a command, it means that we are able by His grace to do it.

Mr. M. -- What do you mean by |coming| to Christ?

Mr. R. -- Believing in Him. If I were to prepare a great feast in this hall to-morrow night, and say that any man that comes to it would have a grand feast and a five-pound note besides, there would not be any question as to what |coming| meant. God has prepared a great feast. He has sent His messengers to invite all to come; and there is nothing to pay.

Mr. M. -- What is the first step.

Mr. R. -- To believe.

Mr. M. -- Believe what?

Mr. R. -- God's invitation; God's promise; God's provision. Let us believe the faithfulness of Him who calls us. Does God intend to mock us, and make game of us? If He did so to one man, it would hush all the harps in heaven.

Mr. M. -- Suppose the people do |come,| and that they fall into sin tomorrow?

Mr. R. -- Let them come back again. God says we are to forgive till seventy times seven. Do you think the great God will do less than He commands us to do?

Mr. M. -- If they truly come, will they have the desire to do the things they used to do before?

Mr. R. -- When a man really receives Christ into his heart, he experiences |the expulsive power of a new affection.| The devil may tempt him to sin; but sin has lost its attraction. A man finds out that it does not pay to grieve God's Holy Spirit.

Mr. M. -- What would you advise your converts to do?

Mr. R. -- When you were little babes, if you had had no milk, no clothing, and no rest, you would not have lived very long. You are now the result of your fathers' and mothers' care. When a man is born in the family of God he has life; but he needs food. |Man doth not live by bread alone.| If you do not feed upon God's promises you will be of no use in God's service: it will be well for you if your life does not die out altogether before long. Then you need exercise. If you only take food, and do no work, you will soon suffer from what I may call spiritual apoplexy. When you get hold of a promise, go and tell it to others. The best way for me to get help for myself is by trying to help others. There is one great promise that young disciples should never forget: |He that watereth shall be watered also himself.|

Mr. M. -- How are they to begin?

Mr. R. -- I believe there are some rich ladies and rich gentlemen on the platform. When such persons are brought to the Lord, they are apt to be ashamed to speak about salvation to their old companions. If our Christian ladies would go amongst other ladies; Christian gentlemen amongst gentlemen of their own class; and so on we should see a grand work for Christ. Each of you have some friends or relations whom you can influence better than anybody else can. Begin with them; and God will give you such a taste for work that you will not be content to stay at home: you will go and work outside as well.

Mr. M. -- A good place to start in would be the kitchen, would it not? Begin with some little kitchen meetings. Let some of you get fifteen or twenty mothers together; and ask them to bring their young children with them. Sing some of these sweet hymns; read a few verses of Scripture; get your lips opened; and you will find that streams of salvation will be breaking out all around. I always think that every convert ought to be good for a dozen others right away.

Mr. R. -- Let me tell a little incident in my own experience. I was once asked to go and see a great man and tell him about Christ. He did not expect me; and if I had known that, perhaps I should not have had the faith to go at all. When I went he was very angry and very nearly turned me out of the house. He was an old man, and had one little daughter. A few weeks afterwards he went to the Continent, and his daughter went with him. One day when he was very ill he saw his daughter looking at him, while the tears rolled down her cheeks. |My child,| he said, |what are you crying about?| |Oh, papa, you do not love the Lord Jesus Christ; I am afraid you are going to hell!| |Why do you say that?| |Do you not remember when Mr. Rainsford called to see you, you were very rude to him? I never saw you so angry. And he only wished to speak to you about Jesus.| |Well, my child, you shall read to me about Jesus.| If that man has gone to heaven -- I do not say whether he has or not -- the only light he had he got from his little daughter. You set to work; and you cannot tell what may be the result, by the blessing of God.

|Sons of God, beloved in Jesus Oh, the wondrous word of grace! In His Son the Father sees us, And as sons He gives us place.

Blessed power now brightly beaming -- On our God we soon shall gaze; And in light celestial gleaming We shall see our Saviour's face.

By the power of grace transforming We shall then His image bear; Christ His promised word performing, We shall then His glory share.|

El Nathan

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